210 ĢIFE OF lected, and it even appeared that none of them had ever been on the siimmit of the volcano. In spite of these disadvantages, Huinboldt perseveringly followed the path for three hours, when they arrived at a little plain in whose centre the Piton or Sugarloaf rises., and where the outlets of the peak are, which the natives call nostrils., and from which vapours some- times rise which have no smell and seem to consist of pure water. The steepest part of the mountain had to be climbed now., and the ascent could only be achieved by following the remains of an old stream of lava which formed a kind of rocky wall in the midst of the rolling ashes. After climbing with hands and feet up the sharp pointed lava mass., they -ascended the Sugar- loaf. In about half an hour they had surmounted the cone, about ninety toises high, and the way would have been more dangerous still had the so- called Sugarloaf been covered with snow. H/iim- boldt was shown the spot on which Captain Baudin had once nearly lost his life.* At eight o'clock in the morning, in a freezing tem- perature, Humboldt reached the top of the cone, which scarcely afforded sufficient room for the whole party to sit down to rest. They could not see the crater itself, because lava and brimstone had formed a kind of wall round it. An opening on the western side, probably formed ^by a stream of lava, afforded an entrance into the kettle of the volcano ; Humboldt, followed by Ms companions,, descended to the bottom of the funnel, whose eggshaped mouth must be SCO feet in length, and 200 broad. The warmth they perceived here proceeded from some slits from which watery vapours flowed,, accompanied by a peculiar rushing sound, and the interior of this crater afforded the picture of a volcano which has for millenniums * Captain Bandm had been bold enough to ascend to the summit daring the snowtime in 1797* When he had got about halfway, he slipped, and rolled down to the next plain, where, fortunately for Mm, Ms jfoU was broken by a heap of lara covered with snow.